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Connecticut

Overview

Walk through the streets of any major city in Connecticut and you’ll find a mix of styles ranging from classic chic to upscale urban. College campuses are all about classic chic as well, with a bit of trendy casual mixed in for good measure. These and other styles are easy to find at the numerous malls and boutiques across the state. Head to West Hartford to shop at the upscale Westfarms Mall or stroll the Broadway Shopping District in New Haven, where you can find plenty of classic pieces, trendy accessories, and unique footwear.

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Iowa

Overview

The state of Iowa is home to hundreds of retail shops, shopping malls, boutiques, and department stores. Some of the state’s most beautiful shopping malls can be found in both small towns and large cities, but many boutiques and unusual shopping districts are in large cities such as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport. Head to downtown Cedar Falls (Cedar Falls’ certified cultural district) to browse specialty shops, galleries, and historical attractions. In Des Moines, Valley West Mall is a popular shopping spot where you’ll find more than 100 stores, and special events such as America’s Next Top Model Casting Call, Summer Sidewalk Sales, and fashion shows. Other top shopping venues include Historic East Village in downtown Des Moines, NorthPark Mall in Davenport, and Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids.

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South Carolina

Overview

South Carolina is the nation’s 24th largest state, with a fashion scene that’s just as active as it’s larger neighbors including North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. For starters, South Carolina is home to boutiques galore. Visit any city or town here and you’ll find boutiques ranging from trendy to upscale. The state is also home to some of the country’s most beautiful malls, such as Northwoods Mall in Charleston (120 stores) and Coastal Grand in Myrtle Beach (170 stores), and one of the country’s most competitive Fashion Weeks. Charleston Fashion Week attracts designers from all over the east coast. They come here to show their best creations and to compete in the Emerging Designer Competition: East (EDCE). This renowned competition has helped launch the careers of designers such as Rachel Gordon and Carol Hannah Whitfield.

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Minnesota

Overview

The state of Minnesota is home to around 100 salaried fashion designers and possibly hundreds of independent designers. These individuals play a major role in the state’s fashion scene by starting trends, embracing trends that come their way from the runways of New York and Paris, and by helping individuals find their own style. Take a stroll around Minneapolis, the state’s most fashionable city, and you’ll see styles from bohemian to boutique chic to business casual. St. Paul, Duluth, and Rochester also have their fair share of fashion denizens, with styles ranging from sporty to hip to sophisticated.

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Louisiana

Overview

Most of America just can’t get enough of the mall scene, but in Louisiana, boutiques and odd clothing shops are just as popular. Independent retail shops seem to pop up every other day here and in Baton Rouge, some of the most popular shopping districts are home to both new and established boutiques and retail shops. So finding unique fashions is just as easy as locating an Urban Outfitters or BCBG. What this means for aspiring fashion designers is—anything’s possible in Louisiana. So, whether your design style leans towards bizarre or it’s just plain funky, you can make it here.

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Colorado

Overview

Colorado is more famous for skiing than fashion, but the state still has much to contribute to the industry. The state is home to a large number of boutiques and premier malls such as Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver (over 160 shops), Park Meadows in Lone Tree (185 fine shops and restaurants) and Flatiron Crossing in Broomfield (over 200 shops). Because there are so many malls and boutiques here, fashion designers and fashion merchandisers in training have plenty of opportunities to scope out the latest styles and closely follow trends.

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Alalbama

Overview

Alabama is home to small group of salaried fashion designers, possibly hundreds of independent designers, more than 1,000 visual merchandisers, and hundreds of shopping venues. One of Alabama’s largest cities, Huntsville, is the birthplace of Alabama Fashion Week. Other cities such as Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile also host regular fashion events. Across the state, you’ll discover hundreds of malls from Bel Air Mall in Mobile (over 130 stores) to Riverchase Galleria in Hoover (over 200 stores). Although attractive shopping malls can be found throughout the state, Birmingham is the retail giant of Alabama.

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Wisconsin

Overview

Wisconsin has three principle cities—Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay. Because it’s the largest and most progressive city in the state, most other cities take their fashion cues from Milwaukee. This is a safe bet, because Milwaukee is probably one of the most fashionable cities in the Midwest. What makes it fashionable is its residents aren’t afraid to mix and match patterns, seasons, eras, or styles. And the best part is, the finished look is always a work of art!

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Tennessee

Overview

Tennessee may not be a fashion capital of the world, but this state has fashion on the brain! For starters, the Middle Tennessee Fashion Week (MTFW) is about more than showcasing local talent. The goal of the event is to raise fashion awareness, while exposing residents of other states and countries to Tennessee culture. Other notable Fashion Weeks are Nashville Fashion Week (NFW) and Midsouth Fashion Week (MFW).

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Missouri

Overview

If you’re fashion conscious and you live in Missouri, chances are you’ve settled in Kansas City (population 459,787) or St. Louis (population 319,294). These cities are home to most of the states high-end retailers, the hippest malls and shopping districts, and the state’s most unique boutiques and design shops. In Kansas City, Country Club Plaza is the premier shopping district, with retailers ranging from Armani to Urban Outfitters. Other top shopping destinations include Oak park Mall, which houses more than 180 specialty stores and Legends Shopping District at Village West, where new stores open every day.

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